I had an in-depth conversation yesterday with a friend who was thinking about writing a book. When I asked her what she wanted to write about, she just shrugged, the desire to write was strong, but the type of book or subject had not been thought through sufficiently. Although this might sound strange, I hear from a great many people who have the urge to write but are vague as to the topic and, without a doubt, the subject matter is a vital component to success.
She had dismissed the idea of writing a novel and wanted in some way to write about a subject that she knew about. As the conversation deepened, I realised that she had little faith in her own abilities. She knew about much in life. She had learned to play the piano and the guitar when young and had helped many people to learn the basics over the years. Five years previously, she’d taken on an allotment and had created a vegetable patch to be proud of. Having never grown anything in her life, she’d turn the allotment into an organic area – so it was managed naturally and without the use of any chemicals or pesticides and it yielded a steady flow of vegetables throughout the year. When I suggested that others would want to know how she had done this, she rejected the idea as being one that would not really impress many.
Personally, I felt that she was wrong but we continued to go through an extensive list of many talents and she now has a shortlist of topics and has to (with much deliberation) choose just one. Her story is really not uncommon. A great many of you probably have extensive knowledge in specific areas of life which may be invaluable to someone else who does not. These days, writing as an expert does not mean you always have to have credentials or qualifications, but you do need experience and you do need to believe in your ability
If you fancy writing a non-fiction book, consider niche topics that may be popular and consider the content carefully. It can help to break down content into potential chapters so you can see how long the book would be and how much research is needed etc. You may be surprised to realise just how much you do know.